Last-minute ideas, moderately priced, on strip
Dear Chowhounds, hoping for some help, I realize none of you know me, as I am normally a lurker and not much of a poster (and had to make a new account since I couldn't reset my password) but have had so many excellent meals while travelling thanks to these boards.
Heading to Vegas for three nights leaving tomorrow... booked this trip a few months ago with plans to thorough research and reserve all my dinners and really enjoy the dining options, only to have some unexpected life curveballs arise and never got to do any of that (actually wanted to cancel or reschedule this trip, but the fees to do were too high... so I am off to Vegas anyway!)
Due to the same life curveballs, I've also had to downscale the budget, I wanted to do a few "money is no object" meals, but that's not going to happen.
So... looking for recommendations for moderately priced but interesting dinners. By moderately priced, I mean the $200 range for two people for appetizers, entrees, shared dessert, and a cocktail or glass of wine or two each (probably not full bottles of wine), although anything cheaper but still a great experience would be fantastic. Just can't afford the super high end this trip, sadly. Also ideas for breakfasts, lunches, etc.
Staying at Vdara, no car, and would prefer to avoid any long cab rides, so preferably on or near the strip, but I define "walking distance" more generously than most people.
Foodwise, we like just about everything, would love to hit a variety of places. Where we live we have fantastic local beef and steakhouses, so I am not looking for a steakhouse. I'm especially partial to fish/seafood and there's no good Mexican where I live, so that would be great too.
The only thing I have booked so far is a dinner at Sage. I need two more dinners and some ideas for breakfast/lunch. I will have one late lunch/early dinner before an evening flight on the last day.
Many thanks in advance.
Many thanks to the people who replied and to all the people who have answered similar questions whose recommendations I found by lurking around. Here is my run-down of the places I ended up eating in case it helps others.
Sage: absolutely fantastic, the standout meal of the trip for hitting food, service, atmosphere and value for price. We did the $79 Signature tasing menu with $39 wine pairings. I had oysters, followed by scallop with oxtail, then pork loin, then pistachio tart. The wine pairings were perfect for each. The standout was the scallop, a single very large scallop, perfectly cooked, on a bed of an oxtail/wild mushroom stew. Not a flavour combination I would have expected but it was great.
Tableau: for breakfast. The beef short ribs dish that a few people have mentioned was not on the menu, but I had a duck hash that was amazing. Very meaty with lots of duck. Tiny hiccup: it was described on the menu as being made with scrambled eggs. The served asked if that was okay or if I'd prefer the eggs done another way. I said I'd prefer poached eggs. It arrived with scrambled eggs. I was starving and the server did not immediately re-appear and I like scrambled eggs just fine (just prefer poached) so I ate it like that. No big deal, still tasty. My husband's white chocolate and orange french toast was delicious in the bite I stole, I'm just not a fan of sweet breakfast, but it was really good too.
Bar Masa (Aria). Went for an early dinner/snack before a show. Had a lobster ceviche, sea bream with truffle sashimi and a spicy tuna roll (shared between 2). This was all very tasty but portions were small; if you were going for dinner I think you'd spent a LOT to eat a full meal there. Also, the entire restaurant was vibrating - it's apparently on top of some kind of mechanic room for the hotel. That was a bit distracting/annoying, I was glad we were not there for a full dinner.
Milo's. Did the $20.12 lunch special with $15 wine pairing. Great value. The entree was sea bass and it was a huge portion, nicely cooked. Only disapointment was the side to the fish was a giant hunk of plain steamed broccoli, pretty boring.
Julian Serrano (also Aria). Went for a later dinner after a show. Mixed feelings about this place. Food was incredible. Huevos Estallios (sp?) was basically fried eggs on french fries but it was so tasty. But the service was perfectory, curt and the pace was frantic. Minimal communication from servers. Food came in minutes, pretty much dumped in front of us with no explanation. We arrived at 10 pm and were done, including having dessert, by 10:45, felt like we got rushed out of the place. I have a hard time imaging that is all that late for the style of food and in Vegas? The place was about half full, it's not like we were the last people holding them up from closing. Loved the food, but for the prices, I'd have liked this to be more of an experience rather than a sprint.
China Poblano. Went for lunch and enjoyed the food so much that we had there again on another day. Had hoped to try the lunch special at Comme Ca, but it was closed and China Poblano was nearby, and has such an interesting menu that we had a completely different meal the second time. Enjoyed the tacos and the 20-vegetable fried rice. The only letdown was the dim-sum style steamed buns with bbq pork, kind of bland and nothing special.
Wolfgang Puck Cucina Pizzeria - in the Crystals mall by Aria. Shared a pizza as a late lunch, not especially good. Nice thin crust but greasy and not particularly interesting or strong flavours for a pizza that was supposed to be a spicy pepperoni with chilies.
Overall though lots of great dining this trip! Thanks Chowhounds!
Oops forgot one. Bortolotta at the Wynn. Hadn't made reservations or heard of it before, but we were walking around looking for something in that neighbourhood and I had been thinking Italian. Had a big lunch and was looking to have light dinner before a 9:30 show, so we only had salads and pasta. Both were excellent. Especially salad - I'd been in "vacation eating" mode for a few days at this point and felt like it had been a while since I'd had anything green, and this was a really good salad of wilted argula topped with pecorino. They brought out the case of fresh fish and they all looked good. I think I'd like to try this place for a fuller dinner next trip to Vegas.
Interesting on Milos. My experience last week with the lunch was a bit different, although I would still call it a good, not great value. We did not have the wine pairing, although I ordered a glass - don't know if that was the difference. Appetizer was one perfectly cooked scallop, cut in hlf on a skewer with some green pepper and onion. The sea bass was the, smallest scrawniest example I have ever seen. It was a whole fish per person, but it was hard to see where they could have found something that small. It was accompanied by the broccoli. Dessert was a square of sheet pan baked plain walnut cake.
By Las Vegas standards, I guess it was an OK value, but I certainly wasn't impressed by the portion size or the quality (except maybe for the scallop).
We haven't dined at Milos in over 6 months. Our prior experiences have all been very good; but I have read a few reviews recently that indicate, perhaps, a change in quality of both food and service. The reviews haven't been damning, but they certainly aren't as glowing as they were a year or so ago.,,,
Other Hounds have similar experiences to rjka or was it an exception??
You can definitely do downstairs at RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay in your price range. Upstairs would be more difficult. Julian Serrano, nearby at Aria, might be a great option. Interesting, tasty tapas (including many seafood options) at very doable prices. Order a bunch of different plates and have fun.
Suggest you take a look at the deals at Aria which is right next door to the Vdara. They are offering some reasonable specials in all of their restaurants and you should be able to easily meet your price point.
While it is a bit of a haul, if you get the chance to go to Mundo in the World Market I don't think you will be disappointed. Excellent upscale Mexican food.
Forgot to mention that you will be here for the final two days of Restaurant Week. Three courses for between $20.12 and $50.12. A wide variety cuisines to choose from at high end restaurants.
I haven't seen many reviews yet this year; the exception being DOCG which was reviewed by LV1964 - DOCG sounds good and has been getting a lot of love on this board. Here's the link for Restaurant Week.